An eclectic living room. Photo credit: Athens Photographers, Corynne Pless,

A decade or two ago, people liked their home to be more uniform, consistent, and ordered. Now, people want a more eclectic style—a more “lived in, authentic, interesting, and curated look” as our Interior Designer Anne McDonald puts it. This tendency is demonstrated down to the craft cocktail trend of late, says Anne—across the board, you see this trend toward unique, crafted, personalized style.

Today, we’re going to explore the eclectic style and tips for making it work.

What is eclectic style?

In “Eclectic Style 101,” HGTV defines eclectic style as that which “brings together diverse periods and styles through the use of color, texture, shape, and finish.” Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts Now calls Eclectic Style a “liberating trend,” where “the only rule is that you collect and display what you love.” Lisa Frederick of Houzz calls Eclectic Style “the great equalizer . . . mixing and matching old and new, East and West, luxe and humble, showy and quiet.” The bottom line is that Eclectic Style allows you to create highly individualized design that reflects your tastes, interests, and personality. In Frederick’s words, “Simply put, it’s you, curated.”

Tips for making eclectic style work

Eclectic style needs special care so it looks purposeful and curated as opposed to chaotic. A number of design tips and principles can help you get the right effect.

Unify with color

Eclectic style can handle a varied palette, but finding some neutrals can help pull things together. Using a consistent color can also help when mixing and matching various design genres. For example, you might mix contemporary and antique pieces of furniture, with a unified color palette.

Play with contrasts

Lisa Frederick encourages striving for “contrast, not chaos” when curating your eclectic style. For example, you might find one or two aspects of a style to contrast, such as the texture and lines of furniture pieces, but other aspects, such as their height and paint color, might still be the same. Another way to say it is “methodical mismatching,” a helpful term offered by Frederick.

Find anchor pieces

Another suggestion of Frederick’s is to “anchor” your eclectic style by starting with a few strong, favorite pieces and building from there. Not everything can be a strong, standout piece, or it will feel overdone. Frederick advises that you have to be good about editing; “you can’t stuff every piece you love into a single room,” she says. Eclectic style works when you allow a few really strong pieces and points of interest, with other things that complement.

To identify anchors, consider one-of-a-kind pieces with textural details. Artisan accessories are one place to look for distinctive, handmade details. Vintage pieces can be another source of anchors for an eclectic style—look for striking, memorable pieces at flea markets and antique stores.

More ways to create eclectic style

  • Play with repetition: The design principle of repetition can really work to your advantage when creating an eclectic style. You might repeat a certain color, shape, or kind of finish.
  • Unify with background: Having a clean, solid background color can also help to help pull together disparate pieces. This serves as a strong, unifying piece that pulls a style together.
  • Start with a gallery wall: Designer Lynn Byrne recommends a “gallery wall” as a place to start creating that curated feel. You can collect a whole mix of art and paintings and hang them on a single wall, gallery style.
  • Create vignettes: Another way to cultivate eclectic style is to create little vignettes in various corners of your home. You can group together unexpected, unique pieces, as if you are creating little still life tableaus.
  • Display a collection: Eclectic style can be a way to share your collectibles, whether books or chess pieces. Such collections can add interest, personality, and even serve as conversation pieces. If the pieces are true to your personality and interests, it can really add authenticity to your style.

Would you like help creating an eclectic style in your home? Our interior designers have years of experience mastering these concepts and design principles. We’d love to discuss your project and help you achieve your vision. Contact us today.

Sources and further reading

HGTV, The Curated Look
HGTV, Eclectic Style 101
Houzz, So Your Style Is Eclectic
Real Simple, Eclectic Home Décor Ideas



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